The National Farmers’ Federations’ (NFF) Telecommunications and Social Policy Committee has met at the headquarters of the National Broadband Network (nbn) to discuss a range of issues including improving access to telecommunications and broadband services, and what the next steps are for digital agriculture.
“As a sector we have consistently said that telecommunications represents the next frontier for agriculture and as a committee we have discussed what we believe the future of agriculture will look like and what we need to make that happen,” Committee Chair Georgie Somerset explained.
“Membership of the NFF’s Telecommunications and Social Policy Committee reflects the broad church that is the NFF membership and at our table we had representatives across a range of industries including cotton, grains and livestock.
“All of these industries are readying themselves for the next revolution in agricultural productivity, however, the consistent message we heard from the committee was that there is still a major hurdle to achieving this – connectivity.”
“One of the reasons we met here at nbn is that as one of the founding members of the Rural Regional and Remote Communications Coalition, we have had an opportunity to raise these concerns personally with nbn management.”
Ms Somerset said there had been a lot happening in the telecommunications space in 2017 including the introduction of the Telecommunications Reform Package and the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into the Universal Service Obligation.
“All of these processes have identified Broadband as a key need for farmers.”
“Access to broadband for farmers means more than Netflix and conducting business services online.
“It is about bringing one of the pillars of the Australian economy into the 21st century so that it can take advantage of the wonderful technologies and innovations that many of our competitors take for granted,” Ms Somerset said.
“I would like to thank Bill Morrow and the nbn executive team for taking the time to meet with us face-to-face and providing us the opportunity to make agriculture central to their considerations.”
“While there still much work to be done we have agreed that we can work together constructively to make the data drought a thing of the past.”